French people living abroad may need to repatriate funds to France, for example to buy real estate. On the French side, exchange control was abolished in 1990. However, this type of transaction can be highly regulated depending on the country of residence. This is why these transfers can not be improvised.
In order to curb tax evasion and the circulation of dirty money, two reporting obligations have been introduced by the Act. They concern :
- Transfers of funds to and from abroad
- Holding an account abroad
When should I declare ?
Amounts (cash or checks), securities (shares, bonds, etc.) or securities in an amount equal to or greater than € 10,000 (or its foreign currency equivalent) carried by a natural person must be declared to the administration customs.
This applies to transfers made without the intermediation of a bank.
Failing this, and unless proved otherwise, such capital is assimilated to taxable income.
Transfers are thoroughly checked
Important transfers of funds through the banking system are subject to verification in the context to prevent money laundering and terrorism:Financial intermediaries must alert Tracfin in case of suspicion.Notaries may also be led to make declarations if they have serious doubts as to the origin of the funds employed or the respectability of the bank intermediaries who have passed on the capital.Even if they do not have a direct link to the transfer, real estate agents must also be attentive.
Exchange control regulation has become rare
It is also necessary to learn about the arrangements for transferring funds or holding cash in the country of residence. The aim is not only to avoid infringements, but also to take cognizance of procedural delays, which may delay a project.
While foreign exchange controls have recently been lifted in Argentina, other countries maintain it, such as China and Algeria, and some oil-producing countries in difficulty (Venezuela, Angola).
You have to act on a case-by-case basis and it is possible to obtain information from a French financial institution or the French Embassy. There are also specialized lawyers.
It is never too late to declare assets held abroad in the French administration. Voluntary regularization at the Treatment of Corrective Declarations (STDR) service may lead to a reduction in sanctions.
For regularization applications filed since September 15, 2016, penalties for deliberate breach of duty were incurred from 15% to 25% for passive taxpayers (from 30% to 35% in other cases). They are those who received the assets not declared in the context of a succession or a donation or who constituted them when they were not resident in France.
In conclusion, it makes sense to declare accounts abroad upstream in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises when repatriating funds in France when the need arises. It is also necessary to check the conditions for transfers of funds between the country where you reside and France.